He cannot do anything deliberate now. The strain of his whole weight on his outstretched arms hurts too much. The pain fills him up, displaces thought, as much for him as it has for everyone else who has ever been stuck to one of these horrible contrivances, or for anyone else who dies in pain from any of the world’s grim arsenal of possibilities. And yet he goes on taking in. It is not what he does, it is what he is. He is all open door: to sorrow, suffering, guilt, despair, horror, everything that cannot be escaped and he does not even try to escape it, he turns to meet it and claims it all as his own. This is mine now, he is saying; and he embraces it with all that is left in him, each dark act, each dripping memory, as if it were something precious, as if it were itself the loved child tottering homeward on the road. But there is so much of it. So many injured children; so many locked rooms; so much lonely anger; so many bombs in public places; so much vicious zeal; so many bored teenagers at roadblocks; so many drunk girls at parties someone thought they could have a little fun with; so many jokes that go too far; so much ruining greed; so much sick ingenuity; so much burned skin. The world he claims, claims him. It burns and stings, it splinters and gouges, it locks him round and drags him down…All day long, the next day, the city is quiet. The air above the city lacks the usual thousand little trails of smoke from cookfires. Hymns rise from the temple. Families are indoors. The soldiers are back in barracks. The Chief Priest grows hoarse with singing. The governor plays chess with his secretary and dictates letters. The free bread the temple distributed to the poor has gone stale by midday, but tastes all right dipped in water or broth. Death has interrupted life only as much as it ever does. We die one at a time and disappear, but the life of the living continues. The earth turns. The sun makes its way towards the western horizon no slower or faster than it usually does.Early Sunday morning, one of the friends comes back with rags and a jug of water and a box of the grave spices that are supposed to cut down on the smell. She’s braced for the task. But when she comes to the grave she finds that the linen’s been thrown into the corner and the body is gone. Evidently anonymous burial isn’t quite anonymous enough, after all. She sits outside in the sun. The insects have woken up, here at the edge of the desert and a bee is nosing about in a lily like silk thinly tucked over itself, but much more perishable. It won’t last long. She takes no notice of the feet that appear at the edge of her vision. That’s enough now, she thinks. That’s more than enough.Don’t be afraid, says Yeshua. Far more can be mended than you know.She is weeping. The executee helps her to stand up.
Francis Spufford
Kamishna … karibu, alisema Nafi huku akisimama na kutupa gazeti mezani na kuchukua karatasi ya faksi, iliyotumwa.Ahsante. Kuna nini …Kamishna, imekuja faksi kutoka Oslo kama nilivyokueleza – katika simu. Inakutaka haraka, kesho, lazima kesho, kuwahi kikao Alhamisi mjini Copenhagen, alisema Nafi huku akimpa kamishna karatasi ya faksi.Mjini Copenhagen! alisema kamishna kwa kutoamini.Ndiyo, kamishna … Sidhani kama kuna jambo la hatari lakini.Nafi, nini kimetokea!Kamishna … sijui. Kwa kweli sijui. Ilipofika, hii faksi, kitu cha kwanza niliongea na watu wa WIS kupata uthibitisho wao. Nao hawajui. Huenda ni mauaji ya jana ya Meksiko. Hii ni siri kubwa ya tume kamishna, na ndiyo maana Oslo wakaingilia kati.Ndiyo. Kila mtu ameyasikia mauaji ya Meksiko. Ni mabaya. Kinachonishangaza ni kwamba, jana niliongea na makamu … kuhusu mabadiliko ya katiba ya WODEA. Hakunambia chochote kuhusu mkutano wa kesho!Kamishna, nakusihi kuwa makini. Dalili zinaonyesha hali si nzuri hata kidogo. Hawa ni wadhalimu tu … wa madawa ya kulevya.Vyema! alijibu kamishna kwa jeuri na hasira. Halafu akaendelea, Kuna cha ziada?Ijumaa, kama tulivyoongea wiki iliyopita, nasafiri kwenda Afrika Kusini.Kikao kinafanyika Alhamisi, Nafi, huwezi kusafiri Ijumaa …Binti yangu atafukuzwa shule, kam …Nafi, ongea na chuo … wambie umepata dharura utaondoka Jumatatu; utawaona Jumanne … Fuata maadili ya kazi tafadhali. Safari yako si muhimu hivyo kulinganisha na tume!Sawa! Profesa. Niwie radhi, nimekuelewa, samahani sana. Samahani sana.
Enock Maregesi
All the great groups that stood about the Cross represent in one way or another the great historical truth of the time; that the world could not save itself. Man could do no more. Rome and Jerusalem and Athens and everything else were going down like a sea turned into a slow cataract. Externally indeed the ancient world was still at its strongest; it is always at that moment that the inmost weakness begins. But in order to understand that weakness we must repeat what has been said more than once; that it was not the weakness of a thing originally weak. It was emphatically the strength of the world that was turned to weakness and the wisdom of the world that was turned to folly.In this story of Good Friday it is the best things in the world that are at their worst. That is what really shows us the world at its worst. It was, for instance, the priests of a true monotheism and the soldiers of an international civilisation. Rome, the legend, founded upon fallen Troy and triumphant over fallen Carthage, had stood for a heroism which was the nearest that any pagan ever came to chivalry. Rome had defended the household gods and the human decencies against the ogres of Africa and the hermaphrodite monstrosities of Greece. But in the lightning flash of this incident, we see great Rome, the imperial republic, going downward under her Lucretian doom. Scepticism has eaten away even the confident sanity of the conquerors of the world. He who is enthroned to say what is justice can only ask:‘What is truth?’ So in that drama which decided the whole fate of antiquity, one of the central figures is fixed in what seems the reverse of his true role. Rome was almost another name for responsibility. Yet he stands for ever as a sort of rocking statue of the irresponsible. Man could do no more. Even the practical had become the impracticable. Standing between the pillars of his own judgement-seat, a Roman had washed his hands of the world.
G.K. Chesterton